Ah, copyright issues. You'd think a company as huge as Blizzard would be able to avoid them, but its team-based shooter Overwatch, recently announced at Blizzcon 2014 to much fanfare, might run afoul of trademark legislation.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) has been forced to suspend Blizzard’s trademark applications for the game due to another previous filing by Innovis Labs, a smartphone app company.
“As previously noted, the effective filing date of the pending application identified below precedes the filing date of applicant’s application,” reads the USPTO documentation. “If the mark in the referenced application registers, applicant’s mark may be refused registration under Section 2(d) because of a likelihood of confusion with that registered mark.”
The rival product in question is the Overwatch app, a “tactical utility to enhance airsoft, paintball and first-person shooter gameplay”. It's like an FPS minimap for paintball games, which to be fair sounds like the coolest thing ever. While it's not a computer game, it's regarded as close enough to potentially cause a headache for Blizzard.
Three options then; one, Blizzard settles a deal with Innovis for the app developer to rename their product. Two, Blizzard appeals the decision and somehow wins (which would seem unlikely). Three, Overwatch has to have its name changed.
There's been no official response from Blizzard as yet. We'll keep you posted.